2022 MLB playoffs: Betting tips for the NLCS and ALCS

Will Juan Soto and the rest of the San Diego Padres be celebrating by the time the NLCS comes to an end? Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 MLB postseason continues Tuesday with the start of the National League Championship Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres, a best-of-seven that promises to be packed with drama and intensity. As for the American League, the rain has once again wreaked havoc on the timetable for the New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians, who will attempt to settle their ALDS best-of-five and finally determine which team gets to move on to face the Houston Astros.

Our experts have tackled some of the most important questions surrounding how bettors should approach all of the LCS games this week. Here's what they have to say.

Let's start with those upstarts in the NL. The Padres are now favorites to make the World Series at -125, with the Phillies (+105) still playing the role of underdogs. Who do you like to emerge from this battle?

Eric Karabell: I'll take the Phillies -- and not because I've been rooting for them since before I knew how to properly boo players. It will be Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola starting four of the first six games and, in a stunning reversal, the key bullpen options are thriving. There's lineup depth, too. It's time for Bryce Harper to reach his first World Series.

Todd Zola: I'll take the other side and back the Padres. I like the fact there is only one off day, since that influences how pitching will be managed. If the teams go 2-2 in the games with their top two starters matching up, I like the Padres to take two of the other three games. It's not a slam dunk, since Ranger Suarez and Noah Syndergaard are capable starters. I just like Blake Snell and Mike Clevinger a little more. Not to mention, I'll take the Padres' bullpen over that of the Phillies, even though the Phillies have stepped up in the playoffs.

Derek Carty: THE BAT X thinks the Phillies are the better team, so I'll easily take them at plus money. They've been underrated by the market (and have underperformed) all year, but the talent is on the roster and the math backs them as the play.

Tristan H. Cockcroft: I'm picking the Phillies, a team with a strong offense, two aces and a solid third starter that finally seems to be playing up to its full potential. Games 163 and beyond are a pretty good time to do that! That they're at plus money makes them a stronger betting choice to me, as I don't see either team as a clear favorite.

While not all of the offense from the final two NL clubs remaining comes from the long ball, there have certainly been a fair share of home runs in the postseason from both lineups. Head-to-head, though, who comes out of the NLCS with the most homers in the series: Kyle Schwarber (-155) or Manny Machado (+115)? Are there any other sources of power you'd consider betting on?

Karabell: Schwarber looks lost at the plate, so between those two, let's go with Machado. Still, go with the odds on Juan Soto (+900 to have the most HR in the NLCS). He has certainly had success against Wheeler, Nola and especially Zach Eflin. They may be solo shots, but look for Soto to launch a few.

Zola: It may seem like I'm riding the hot hand as Harper has three homers and three doubles in the postseason, but I'm more impressed with 11 batted balls over 95 mph, eight of which eclipsed the century mark -- with five topping 105 mph. These aren't cheap extra-base hits -- Harper is tattooing the ball. I'll take him at +600 to lead all NLCS bats in round-trippers.

Cockcroft: I agree with Eric. Schwarber seems to be in quite a funk and, while he's the kind of hitter who could catch fire quickly, I need to see it before I'm calling him the favorite with him facing some of the best pitching in the game. If I must pick between those two, I'd take Machado. I also like the odds on Soto. Trent Grisham (+2200), whose power stroke has returned in the previous two series, makes for a decent long shot.

The Astros have punched their ticket to their sixth consecutive ALCS and are still awaiting the identity of their next opponent. Regardless of whom they end up facing, are they the runaway favorite right now?

Karabell: Absolutely. I picked them all along because it's not just ace Justin Verlander who is thriving. It's all of their pitchers, really. There's fantastic depth here, and Dusty Baker uses it wisely. The Astros are hardly strangers to long playoff runs. Even with rather rough odds, they remain the safest bet.

Zola: Agreed. Houston's ability to reset its pitching is huge, especially with the other ALDS going all five games and taxing both pitching staffs. As we've seen, the better team can lose a short series, but it would be an upset -- even more so -- in a longer, seven-game series.

Cockcroft: Yes, without question. The Astros were my initial pick to represent the American League, but now they look like the clear class of the remaining teams (the Yankees' Game 5 result will have a slight bearing, of course). As Todd mentioned, the Astros will also have a massive scheduling advantage with their pitching, so they might be able to wrap an ALCS victory up early, too, and then roll that edge over again for the World Series.